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April 23, 2014

'Big Love' - 'End of Days' Recap

by Danny Gallagher, posted Mar 8th 2010 7:50AM
Bill Paxton as Bill Hendrickson on
(S04E09) "I'm Bill Henrickson, and I believe in the principle of plural marriage. I am a polygamist." - from Bill's acceptance speech

With those very words, Bill released his family from four seasons of hiding and seclusion and finally brought his lifestyle and faith out in the open in a way very few fans could have seen coming. It was bound to go public somehow someway, but no one could have predicted it would have been on the steps of the state capitol as he accepts the keys to a state senate office.

So why did it feel so unfulfilling and empty?

Part of it had to do with the build-up to the final, triumphant moment when Bill not only wins elected office but frees himself from the burden of lying and hiding to the world what he truly is and what his family truly believes. The whole episode played out as an action-packed soap opera with Bill literally running from one problem to the next as villains unfurl their dastardly schemes and the heroes race to clean it up in time.

It's hard to fault them for writing themselves into this corner. The season has built up a pretty dramatic storyline to points that were bound to explode into final action, such as JJ's slow scheming to impregnate Nikki with one of his other wives' eggs and Marilyn's unquenchable thirst for vengeance. And they have to end, but they don't have to end at the end of the season.

It would have been fine, even more dramatic to let them linger a bit into the next season, particularly the one with JJ. Not that I want to see any harm come to Nikki or her mother, but the script didn't have to kill him and his wife off in such a throw together way, burned alive in the clinic at the hands of Nikki's furious mother. It would have been more fun to let him get away and grow in anger and scope into the next season as a continuing villain.

It also would have made him a new and more interesting villain than crazy Alby. Sure he's been ineffective up until this point or at least at the caliber of his late father, but he's bound to either bury himself or them both under a giant pile of crazy.

Even the angle with Barb being the "Deep Throat" who leaks the mistress story to the press because she can't deal with going public feels tacked on and unnecessary. Sure it heightens the tension early on in the episode, but it just comes as a needless shock to something she's been uneasy with since it started. Sabotaging Bill's career and reputation just screams "last minute."

Things with Ana and her soon-to-be-deported husband got interesting when news of the paternity test broke. They always felt like a loose end just waiting to unravel the whole affair, but the bond they forged with Margie was surprising, genuine and heartfelt. Besides, if they created one more problem, Bill would have had an aneurysm and that would just have thrown the whole episode into a suck spiral.

Other observations:

- Did Barb and Nikki's choice of election night dresses just scream "Teresa Heinz"? Not the woman, but the actual ketchup company.

- The reintroduction of Don into the plot via his son throwing a brick through the Henricksons' window was a nice touch. He was bound to come back and give his family a chance to show their anger for Bill for what he's done, even if Don can't show it.

- The Larry King cameo had me five ways from giddy. A polygamist compound with possible incestuousness is not only something he would have covered wall-to-salacious-wall in the real world, but interrupted coverage of a possible nuclear holocaust to cover.

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Elisabeth

Steph, I'm with you. This used to be one of my favourite shows. It used to be about life as modern polygamists and how they ran their household, and yet kept their way of life a secret. (Three houses, three mortgages, the mechanics of sharing a husband, trips to Costco, the schedule to share Bill, etc.) Now it's all soapy and silly.
This entire season was totally ridiculous. Mexico? Genetic plots? Ana and her baby? Selfish silly Bill?
And I don't understand the painting into a corner that their "outing" has done. The whole appeal of the show was keeping their big secret.
I have no idea where they're going with this.
I suppose I'll tune in to the next season out of curiousity but, if it continues along this most ridiculous path, I will have to drop it.
Which begs the question: do all shows become stupid after 3 seasons?

March 15 2010 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Danielle

Gina, I agree w/ you 100%. Even my husband thought Anna was trying to lure Margene as the 2nd wife. Her b/f is def eye candy and hope to see more of him next season. ;)

Yea..there was something def there between Barb and the young guy from the casino, but dont know how much Bill saw that since he was hardly ever there. I thought she felt something for him when a few episodes back when they were in that tent w/ the steam and he opened up to her about his wife who died.

Big shocker to learn Barb was the one who leaked about Anna's baby. Wow!

Can someone refresh my memory is why Bill's brother is in Mexico?


When JJ came into the clinic while Nikki was there telling her the 3 of them can be together again, due to his daughter's eggs...eww...how gross! He def deserved what was coming to him and hopefully hes gone. Hes too creepy to see him in another season.

Alby got some serious issues going on. Cannot believe he cuts his wife face! What a pysho!

Felt bad for all the sisters wives when Bills announce hes a polygamist. WOW! First, I was shocked that he won and to admit it on stage! Def awkward but well played!

Interesting, I was thinking if Don was ever gonna show back up or disappear for good. Nice how they wrapped up the story w/ his son throwing something at Bills home. I honestly dont blame Don for just driving away. Good for him, but Im sure their friendship will come together again.

March 12 2010 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C C

Oh, boy....This episode was an X-Files homage! Kind of a nutty homage, but an homage none-the-less!Inbreeding and rumors of buried fetuses (see the episode Home), crazy doctors, genetic manipulation, eggs being taken from one woman and implanted in another, clinics being torched....the only thing missing were the aliens!

The stabbing with the scissors, however, was straight out of 24 (5th season, when Jack dismissed somebody who was trying to kill an unconscious Tony in CTU medical). And the episode was titled End of Days. Hmmm. That ties in to both 24 and X-Files, in a way...

March 08 2010 at 8:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DNA

The egg for Nikki was from her daughter, but I'm pretty sure the one in Adalene was from Wanda (I heard her tell Bill that "the egg in Adalene is from me". Still gross since Wanda is his sister.

I liked this season very much, but I do feel like the last few episodes (especially the last one) were rushed. I admit I don't always catch onto things (I still don't know what the UEB is or what it does), and I don't recall any mention of incest in Kansas before the last episode.

BTW - What was the deal with JJ not having fingernails (Margene mentioned it in an earlier episode)?

I felt there was totally an attraction between Barb and Tommy.

Can't wait for season 5!

March 08 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
George

The way they rushed through the last few episodes and wrapping up alot of the plotlines, you'd think the show was getting cancelled.

I used to hate hate hate alby. But that one episode where he opened up to his gay lover and you could see he was like trying to share and feel love, and the guy says something along the lines of them not being gay in heaven and how it's only a problem they have to deal with while on earth. The heartbreak he conveyed (alby) really changed my view of him.

and for some reason I still think the russian girls child isn't bills

March 08 2010 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
flight815

SOMEONE LET ME KNOW IF THEY AGREE WITH ME!!

BIG LOVE IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS, BUT THIS SEASON WAS SUCH A DISAPPOINTMENT.
IT JUST SEEMED THAT MOST OF THE CHARACTERS HAD A HUGE CHANGE UP. THE ONLY CHARACTER I FELT ANYTHING FOR THIS SEASON WAS SARA.
EVERTHING FELT TOO UNREALISTIC. THE WHOLE THING IN MEXICO WAS TERRIBLE. I MEAN COME ON. THEY COULDN'T DO ANY BETTER THAN THAT STORY.
THE WAY HE TREATED HIS SON WAS SHAMEFUL. MARGIE ADMITTING SHE HAD FEELINGS FOR BEN; WHAT? WHERE THE HELL DID THAT COME FROM. WE KNEW BEN HAD FEELINGS FOR HER BUT SHE NEVER HAD FEELINGS FOR HIM. MARGIE MARRYING THAT GUY. WTF!!! NICKY GOES FROM WEARING NORMAL CLOTHES THEN NOT WEARING THEM, THEN TO WEARING AGAIN. DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED WITH WHAT BILL DID TO DON. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL DONS WIFE WOULD HAVE ALLOWED BILL TO EXPOSE THEM LIKE THAT..
I MEAN A STATE SENATOR- COME ON. THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS PEOPLE KNOW. THERE ARE PROBABLY HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE WHO COULD EXPOSE HIM. THE WHOLE THING JUST SEEMED FORCED.

BARB EXCOMMUNICATED FROM THE CHURCH LAST SEASON
BILL STARTING HIS OWN CHURCH
BILL HEADING UP THE UEB
TONS OF PEOPLE KNOWING HE'S A POLYGIMIST
BARB EXPOSED AT THE MOTHER OF THE YEAR THING THE FIRST SEASON.

SORRY FOR THE RANTING. I COULD GO ON AND ON. I HOPE THEY GET THERE ACT TOGETHER NEXT SEASON BECAUSE LIKE I SAID, IT IS A SHOW I REALLY LOVED AND LOOKED FORWARD TO EVERY WEEK. HERE'S HOPING

March 08 2010 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cyn

So, the eggs came from Nikki's daughter, who thought she had a tonsilectomy? Wow.
I am glad Adalene torched the villain JJ and his crew. Yuck. She is one mean mama, and deserves to run Juniper Creek. Albie is a mean bully and cutting his first wife was vicious. They do deserve each other.
I detest Bill this season. He put all his wants and needs ahead of his wives and families.
Forcing them to publicly admit they were multiple wives was excruciating to watch them squirm. And, to hear the crowd comments was so good. Bill commits all the sins and gets a free "pass" card while the others have to atone for their sins. This season I have disliked him and his hypocricy. He deserves marilyn. Good finale.

March 08 2010 at 10:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gina

He started off not liking her but yeah I think he really has something for her. He seemed to get angry when she went to get him something to drink. Like he didn't like the way she is subservient to men. Not only that he has been warming up to her a lot.He hated her in the beginning but now they are friends. It made me think that was partially behind her speech to Bill. That there maybe another kind of life for her. That she has followed every decision he has made. She is starting to wake up and realize that her husband was just a horny bast@rd and maybe it is time for her to go her own way. All of "her kids" are almost grown. Teeny is about 14 now and splitting from Bill will be easier because of that. But now that he has outed them leaving will be harder. He wont let her go now it will make him a laughing-stock. He announces he is a polygamist and then divorce? No way.

When her and Bill first got married there was no talk of polygamy she thought she would have a marriage with the man she loved who loved her. Then her husband says he has had a revelation and he should take more wives. He took advantage of her when she was recovering from cancer. She said yes to keep her husband. She never really wanted this. If she had really wanted to be part of a polygamist marriage she would have found a husband that was still on the compound. She wanted a regular marriage and now thinks she made a huge mistake.

March 08 2010 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gina

At first I thought "Deep Throat" was Ana's boyfriend. He just seemed like the type. Was it just my imagination or are Ana and her boyfriend trying to get Margene to join them in a multiple marriage? With all the talk about loving her it made me think that.

JJ did not impregnate Nikki or her mother with one of his other wives fertilized eggs, they came from his daughter! The one he had with Nikki. Totally gross!!! It smacks of incest. Think about it while he didn't have sex with his daughter he did remove her eggs and fertilize them.

I think Bill might have had another motive for removing the guys from the Casino. Barb and the one were starting to have something. I seriously think the one guy was starting to crush on Barb. Does anyone else think so?

March 08 2010 at 8:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Gina's comment
John

I didn't think he was into Barb, and besides, Bill's never there to see it anyway! I think it was a typical Bill Hendrickson heavy-handed approach at dealing with a problem - get rid of the perceived "problem"

March 08 2010 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
malieta

Oh yeah.... Barb and the guy from the casino definitely like one another and I'm wondering if that is why she thinks she might need a break from Bill. I think that Barb needs a serious vacation to just clear her head and decide what path in life she wants to take.

I knew that J.J. was doing something wrong with the eggs, I didn't realize the eggs were his daughters! *double yuck!!!

It's a shame we have to wait until next year to find out all of the details about J.J.'s compound and exactly what went on with Nikki's daughter. I also want to know what on earth is going to happen to that crazy Alby, I can't stand him!

March 08 2010 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

I liked it but I felt like it was hampered by so few episodes, it seemed like a lot of plots (Alby) were condensed down too much. My other complaint is this whole running for senator thing felt like it was a hobby for Bill. I mean, a senator? And no one ever bothered to do a tiny bit of research on Bill - it's not like he's been totally running off the radar (Woman of the Year, etc.) all these years. And hello, Margie lives two doors down!

If it comes back, I'd like to see JJ have escaped somehow. I thought the in-breeding was a good slow burn storyline, with clues here and there that might have been missed.

With this show, every episode is crazier than the last, but once you're on board with that, it's good. Hope it comes back next year with more episodes!

March 08 2010 at 8:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment
Paul

I think running for State Senator probably isn't as tough as it seems. At first I thought he was gonna be a Senator in DC but it seems like he was just running for one of State Senate spots in Utah.

Wikipedia says each district is about 91,000 people. Seems reasonable?

March 08 2010 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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